EA focused their E3 press conference on ten games, one from each of their top ten developers. Ron provides his play-by-play coverage directly from the conference:
EA kicks off their presentation with a quick look at the incredible franchises that the company has under their belt. From Madden, FIFA, and NCAA, to Crysis 3, the Sims, The Old Republic, and much more. John Ricatello takes the stage to show off the games from 10 of their partnered developers. He talks at length about how games have evolved from “the disc that you buy, to the place that you go”.
Visceral Studios: Dead Space 3
First up from Visceral Studios, and the first look at Dead Space 3. Crash landing on a planet which is the source of the foul creatures from the previous games, Isaac and Ellie return to battle Necromorphs on an icy new world. You’ll also have drop-in and drop-out co-op, and we’ve gotten to see it play out live. Using the same Kinetic powers from the two previous titles, the players have to work cooperatively to re-engage some sort of spinning drill machine. Naturally, the Necromorphs would like to make that far more difficult for you, requiring the two players to cut through waves of them as the drill spins precariously around the area, looking to rip them to shreds. Exposing the fragile core in the center, the two players destroy the drill. We also get to see what looks like a Kinetic chainsaw blade launcher in action. Taking cover, the players encounter something somewhat unexpected – what looks like humans trying to hold a position. Before they can deal with that thought, they have a massive creature the size of a 4 story building to contend with first. Spitting eggs that hatch into Necromorphs, the players have to defend against threats from all angles. Before the demo closes, Isaac is sucked into the gaping maw of the creature, and we see him descending deep inside the vile thing before being plunged into the acid bath of the stomach. The game looks amazing, and we’ll see it on February 2013.
EA Tiburon: Madden NFL 2013
Moving quickly to sports, we flip the page to Madden 13. Cam Weber takes the stage to talk about how Madden 13 will “leave its mark”. The new Infinity Engine looks to bring runtime physics to the world of Madden. They claim that no two plays will ever look the same as the engine considers mass, momentum, and physical attributes when determining the outcome of a hit. Tackle animations are no longer the end of the play – you can now fight for a few more yards as predetermined outcomes are gone. They are also bringing a new mode called “Connected Career”. They want to bring a storyline, progression and a meaningful career to the franchise, but first…Michael Irving. He talks about the hard road to becoming a Hall of Famer. You can create and join a league with up to 32 players. You can be a coach, a player, or anything in between. Like an RPG, you meet objectives to raise your skills. Doing well you can even rise too the Hall of Fame. The game has a virtual Twitter feed, a full career mode, free agency systems, and all of this can be synched with Twitter, your phone, your PC, or your tablet. Roll the trailer!
Taking the stage now is Lucy Bradshaw, the GM of Maxis. The first title up is SimCity Social for Facebook. The game looks like SimCity 2000, only you are able to play it via your browser. Just as before, being good or evil comes with its own rewards. You can invite your friends to your city and send them gifts – they are looking to bring one of the most addictive games to one of the most addictive places on the planet.
On the PC, we get SimCity, and we get to see the first gameplay look courtesy of a shiny new trailer. The game looks more detailed than ever before, with the ability to zoom down to an incredible level we’ve not seen before. You can specialize your city, placing individual pieces within a block. You can also play multiplayer, though it’s unclear how quite yet. The choices that you make will affect all of the cities that surround your city. They intend to bring dynamic challenges to players as well – one such challenge I saw pop up was as simple as “build an airport”. Text simcity to 44144 for a chance to name the first city! Yep – another trailer.
DICE: Battlefield 3
Jason West and Vince Zampella get some recognition from John before we see Patrick Bach and Peter Moore take the stage for Battlefield 3. The franchise has hit over 50 million players, and is apparently growing. To that end, DICE is bringing players Battlefield 3: Premium. This new system gives some new modes, maps, weapons, and five expansion packs. If you pick the service up for 49.99, you get the entirety of all of the features as they releaase throughout this year and next. Back to Karkland, Close Quarters, Armored Kill, Aftermath, End Game, over 20 new weapons, 10 new vehicles, customization, camo, dog tags, and more are all part of the pack, and it is available today.
BioWare: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Dr. Ray Muzyka takes the stage to talk about Star Wars: The Old Republic. Talking about how the game has been updated over the last year, and how the game has served players over the last 6 months. New companions, new species to play (Cathar), new Warzones, hardcore mode, new PVP modes, higher level caps, and a new planet (Makeb) will hit all within this year. This July, the game will become free to play up to level 15, and we get to see what new goodies are coming courtesy of a shiny new trailer.
Danger Close: Medal of Honor Warfighter
Greg Goodrich, executive producer of Medal of Honor Warfighter takes the stage to talk about this new title. Every mission in the game has a dotted line to a real hotspot or an actual event to ensure that the accuracy of the previous title has been maintained. The mission we kick off is in Mogadishu, with Tier 1 Operator Gladiator 1 hitting the beach near a bombed out cityscape. Stuck in the chest by a sniper, we are saved by our body armor but fall into the water. Ducking underneath the rapidly decaying bridge we use cover and snap shots to take down the tangos dotting the nearby stairs. Popping frags into nearby buildings flexes the muscle of the Frostbite 2 engine as the breachpoint blows outwards.
Breaching a door with a shotgun, we take out three out of the four soldiers in the room as we track the nearby sniper. Lasering the side of the building, we watch as artillery turns the entire structure to rubble. Dust hangs heavy in the air as the sand and smoke fill the sky. Slowly advancing through a fog of flies and burning debris, we descend into the bowels of the building. Switching to an armed drone with a camera, then gunning down the enemy with guns and the attached grenade launcher, we slowly creep thorugh the rubble. Breaking through, we find a brother unit pinned down by RPG fire. Our drone puts up a valiant fight, but in the end is destroyed, ending the demo. Global Warfighters – 12 different tier-1 operators from 10 nations will make up the multiplayer aspects of the game. Look for it on October 23rd of this year.
EA Canada: FIFA 13
FIFA 13 gets a great deal of airtime as it is one of the most celebrated sports game franchises the world over. With many new featuures added to the footwork, as well as a new player interaction system, the game looks to deliver better dribbling, light touches, and complex foot movement. Messi will grace the cover worldwide.
We return to the cage with UFC – a stunning coup for EA. The UFC and EA have signed a multi-year agreement to bring the game to everyone worldwide under the EA Sports umbrella. No word on who will be developing the game, or when we can expect it, but it’s done.
Criterion: Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Criterion hits the stage next with a fantastic looking trailer for Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Matt Webster, executive producer, steps up to talk about Criterion’s take on what it takes to become Most Wanted, courtesy of their Autolog system. Creative Director of the game Craig Sullivan jumps into the driver’s seat of a nice yellow Porche as he bangs cop cars, civilians, and players alike into guard rails and off the road. Just as before, a running meter keeps track of how much money you have cost the state thus far, as well as your position, any slipstreaming, and your position on the map. As he finishes a section, his position and “Speed Points” are shown relative to his friends on the leaderboard. Heading offroad and through a construction zone, Craig smacks a wall and is almost busted in the process. Back on the road, he hits a big jump through the construction zone once again to end the demo. It’ll launch on October 30th.
Crytek: Crysis 3
Cevat Yerli of Crytek steps up next to demonstrate Crysis 3. The player is inside what is being referred to as an Urban Rainforest -namely as it is a city that is being actively reclaimed by the nearby jungle. Using familiar suit powers, the player cuts down enemies on his way through what looks to be a reactor of some kind. Locating the overrides, he realizes that he has no time to shut it down, instead opting to rip it apart. Escaping as the alarm klaxons blare, the player now has to place explosives at the structure weak points. Switching to a compound bow with explosive arrows, the player cuts down a helicopter that is harrassing the area. This only serves to piss off the enemy who brings in two more helicopters and a pair of boats. Using a grappling rope to escape the blast from our placed explosives, we watch as the dam collapses, flooding the area, and ending our demo. The game is headed to shelves on February 2013.
Look for our continued EA coverage as we visit them for hands-on.